You've probably gotten the call.
It's from the "Canada Revenue Agency," or some department within it. The robotic or human voice says there's a lawsuit against you for tax evasion or fraud. It tells you to immediately call them back — and pay up — or risk getting arrested.
This tax scam has been around for years. The (actual) CRA has been warning Canadians that its employees will never ask for personal information over the phone, threaten arrest or demand payment by gift cards, prepaid credit cards or Bitcoin.
Greg McBride has gotten these scam calls, too. But instead of hanging up and hurling expletives at the sky like the rest of us, the 33-year-old calls the scammers back. His mission: to waste their time.
McBride, who lives in Kitchener, Ont., posted a video compilation — a greatest hits, really — of some of his chats with the scammers to YouTube.
Check out some his calls with the scammers below:
"If they think it's OK to waste my time, then I think it's OK to waste their time," he told HuffPost Canada in an email.
In one of the calls, McBride speaks to a woman who warns him there's an arrest warrant under his name. She says the line is even being monitored by a municipal courthouse.
"Which municipality is it?" he asks.
"All right," the woman says. "Please do not interrupt me while I read the affidavit."
A brief Celion Dion duet
Later, McBride asks about the "felony" charges that are supposedly hounding him. He informs the woman that Canada doesn't have felony charges.
"We have indictable offences and summary conviction offences."
An awkward silence. Then, she replies: "Really? All right, not a problem. Don't try to be smarter than me, all right?"
McBride's pranks get more creative later in the video. At one point he speaks with a scammer while sitting on his couch and blasting Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."
McBride then starts singing and, after asking her if "we're doing this," the scammer joins in.
"It's a good song, isn't it?" he says.
"At that point I just wanted to see what I could get away with. Apparently, a lot," he said.
McBride said the scammers eventually hang up on him or, after repeated attempts, tell him to stop calling. At one point, a man tells him to stop calling and go "f**k himself."
On a Reddit post for his video, McBride shared the number he's been calling to get others to join his skirmish against scammers. He said he wants people to waste the "terrible" scammers' time so much that their scheme stops being worth the time and effort.
'It makes me laugh'
"The only way their scam works is that, primarily, the only people to return their calls are vulnerable people. The scammers can focus their time on exploiting those people," McBride said.
"I believe the best way to combat this problem is for everyone to return their call and waste as much of their time as possible. If enough of us waste their time, this scam will not be worth it for them any more. Also, it makes me laugh."
For more information on the types of scams out there, and what you can do to protect yourself, head over to this page from the (real!) Canada Revenue Agency.
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